NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obesity and Diabetes

September 18, 2001

More Americans are overweight and, as a result, more are getting diabetes, according to new studies. Being overweight is the most important risk factor in developing adult-onset (type 2) diabetes, say researchers.

  • Researchers say that 56.4 percent of American adults were overweight in 2000, compared with 45 percent in 1991.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 65.5 percent of men and 47.6 percent of women were overweight in 2000.
  • The percentage of adults with diabetes increased from 4.9 percent in 1990 to 7.3 percent in 2000.
  • Adult diabetes is 90 percent preventable if people exercise more, eat healthier food and adopt other healthy behaviors.

A study of 85,000 female nurses found that women who exercised for seven or more hours per week were half as likely to develop diabetes as women who exercised for less than half an hour weekly.

Source: Ali H. Mokdad et al., " The Continuing Epidemics of Obesity and Diabetes in the United States," Journal of the American Medical Association, September 12, 2001; Frank B. Hu, et al., " Diet, Lifestyle, and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women," New England Journal of Medicine, September 13, 2001.


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